Sunday, September 1, 2013

Gospel Reflection

September 01, 2013
Sunday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Jose "Jo" Vidamor B. Yu, LRMS (Rector, Lorenzo Mission Institute)
6:00PM Sunday Anticipated Mass, Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel (Greenbelt Chapel), Makati

My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God. What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not. The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs, and an attentive ear is the joy of the wise. Water quenches a flaming fire, and alms atone for sins.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11

R. (cf. 11b) God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.
The just rejoice and exult before God;
they are glad and rejoice.
Sing to God, chant praise to his name;
whose name is the LORD.
R. God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.
The father of orphans and the defender of widows
is God in his holy dwelling.
God gives a home to the forsaken;
he leads forth prisoners to prosperity.
R. God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.
A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance;
you restored the land when it languished;
your flock settled in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy.
R. God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.

Brothers and sisters: You have not approached that which could be touched and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness and storm and a trumpet blast and a voice speaking words such that those who heard begged that no message be further addressed to them. No, you have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering, and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect, and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.

Gospel Lk 14:1, 7-14

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully.

He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor.  A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place.  Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.  For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Then he said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”


Brothers and sisters, we are now in the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Once more, we are gathered here, as we want to listen to the Word of God, we want to be inspired by the Living Bread, we want to submit ourselves to the Lord and thank Him for He has given us so much blessings - the air that we breathe, the food that we eat, the dress that we wear, for the relationships that we share, and most especially, we thank the Lord, for we are still alive today.

Here we are in the Holy Mass, finding ourselves in humility, obedient to the Lord. An obedient person is one who is humble. And we are reminded, through our readings today, about humility. We approach the Lord today with humble hearts. We want to be with the Lord and forget the world, we want to focus on the Lord. And if we focus today on what humility is all about, we draw ourselves back to the etymology or origin of the word 'humility'. And the word 'humility' comes from two Latin words. The first one is the word 'humibile' which is the attitude of being 'on the ground'. A person who is proud is not on the ground; he is in the air. 'Yon ang sinasabi nating may hangin itong taong ito. Filled with air, bloated.

The First Reading from the book of Sirach reminds us that if you are humble, you shall receive gifts from the Lord. It also says that you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. In other words, the humble person will constantly receive blessings from the Lord. And this is the very reason why we give time for the Lord, in order to receive constantly God's love and blessings. The book of Sirach also says that a humble person listens; he is a lover of the Word of God . His wisdom is not the wisdom of the world; his wisdom emanates from God. A humble person depends on the Word of God; he desires to listen to it, and he becomes wise and formed by it.

The word 'humble' also comes from the Latin word 'humus' which means 'earth' or 'soil'. The word 'human' also comes from the word 'humus'. Kaya nga mayroon tayong awitin na tayo ay 'nagmula sa lupa'. We came from dust, and to dust we shall return. A humble person looks on the ground, hindi nakatingin sa itaas. In the mass, when we pray 'Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy', the Word of God reminds us that the Lord is more powerful than we are. In the Old Testament, God punished His people because He wanted His people to be humble. That is why He sent earthquakes, the flood of Noah, pestilence. That is why the Second Reading of today from the Letter to the Hebrews says that a humble person does not wait for the wrath of God. Instead, we should look at the image of Jesus who humbled Himself, dying on the Cross, so that we may always be reminded to be humble like Him.

Finally, in the Gospel today, the Lord says that the one who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself, shall be exalted. How beautiful is the inspiration of the readings today. The Lord wants all of us - there is no exception - to desire for the Word of God, and humble ourselves like Jesus. The last sentence of our Gospel today says that we should do all these things, for we shall be repaid at the Resurrection of the righteous. We shall reap the blessings of eternal life, if we, ourselves, shall be humble.

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